Former Indian opening batsman Sunil Gavaskar heaped praise on Shubman Gill, who scored his first half-century in international cricket on Friday to get India off to a solid start in reply to Australia’s.

Gill scored 50 from 108 balls, smashing eight boundaries to earn praise for his excellent stroke play but Gavaskar was particularly in awe of his defence against the Australian pace attack.

“What we saw today confirms that he is one of India’s brightest prospects,” Gavaskar said during the post-match show on Sony Network.

“The way he got behind the line of the ball more than any of the shots that he played and he played some sparkling ones was so impressive,” he added.

Gavaskar who is regarded as one of the best-ever opening batsmen to play the game felt it was a trait every batsman playing in that position must have.

“That is the thing you want to look at when you look at opening batsmen how quickly and accurately they get behind the wall. Shubman Gill’s defence was as good as his batting. I think he has a big future ahead,” Gavaskar said.

The 71-year-old also lauded Australian batsman Steve Smith who scored his first Test century on home soil in three years.

Smith’s knock added great deal of respectability to an otherwise average batting display from the hosts and Gavaskar revealed that he sensed his intentions early.

“The way he showed his intentions yesterday, the way he used his feet against the spinners and the way he was getting behind and then punching the ball in the covers was brilliant. It’s actually the best sign that the batsman is confident,” Gavaskar said.

“It’s not the easiest shot to play because the bat is not always straight and it’s not even horizontal. Therefore if you are not in form, it’s likelier that you either inside edge it onto the stumps or outside edge it for a catch. But when a punch through the covers comes through you know this batsman is going to score runs,” he added.

The former Indian batsman feels Smith’s knock could prove to be crucial in the final outcome of the Sydney Test that’s finely poised at the end of day 2 with India at 96/2.

It’s all to play for in the series with the score level at 1-1 and the next three days could be pivotal in determining the final destiny of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.